Daily Current Affairs for 24th September 2020

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CAG: Rafale vendors yet to confirm tech transfer


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news?

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in a report tabled in Parliament said Dassault Aviation the maker of Rafale fighter aircraft had so far not confirmed the transfer of high technology for jet engine.

Key details

  • The French aerospace major Dassault Aviation and European missile maker MBDA have till date “not confirmed” the transfer of technology for the indigenous development of engine for the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), under the offset contract relating to the ₹60,000 crore.
  • The report on offset clauses in defence deals observed that in October 2019, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) informed that the vendor had not yet been able to confirm their capability for doing the requisite upgradation.
  • Thus, it is not clear if this technology transfer will take place, and there is need for MoD/DRDO to identify and acquire the right technologies in order to comply with the directions of Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) given in September 2016.

What is an Offset clause?

  • To develop the Indian defence industry and bring in high technologies, an offset policy was adopted.
  • The offset policy was adopted in 2005 for all defence capital imports above ₹300 crore.
  • Under the policy, the foreign vendor is required to invest at least 30% of the value of the contract in India.
  • It is an element of ‘compensation’ made by the manufacturer that mostly takes place in the form of placing a minimum per cent of value addition in the ordering country.
  • Defence offset means “a supplier places work to an agreed value with firms in the buying country, over and above what it would have brought in the absence of the offset
  • Hence under defence offset, a foreign supplier of equipment agrees to manufacture a given percent of his product (in terms of value) in the buying country. Sometimes this may take place with technology transfer.

Defence offset policy of 2016

  • The defence offset policy is a part of Defence Procurement and Procedure (DPP).
  • Major feature of the 2016 offset policy is that it increases the threshold of defence offset to Rs 2000 crore from the current level of Rs 300 crores under “buy” and ‘buy and make” This means that only those purchase of above Rs 2000 crore that the foreign company has to ensure 30% domestic value addition in India.
  • Another feature is the creation of a new category called ‘Indian Designed Developed and Manufacture (IDDM)’ and it has been given the highest priority.
  • This category is created and promoted maximum to encourage domestic design of defence equipments.

Eights bills passed on the last day of RS


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news?

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned sine die clocking a productivity rate of over 100%, even though it was one of the shortest monsoon sessions with only 10 sittings held.

Key details

  • The House passed eight Bills in less than four hours as the Opposition boycotted the proceedings over the manner in which two farm bills were passed.
  • In the 10 sittings, 25 bills were passed and 6 bills introduced.
  • The productivity of the House during this session has been 100.47 %.
  • During the day, the House passed the following legislations:

1) The Foreign Contribution Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

  • It is a bill that proposes to include public servants in the prohibited category to provide that no foreign contribution shall be accepted by them.
  • It has also sought to prohibit any transfer of foreign contribution to any other association or person.
  • It proposes to decrease administrative expenses through foreign funds by an organisation to 20% from 50% earlier.
  • It seeks to make Aadhaar mandatory for registration.
  • The amendment seeks to give the government powers to stop utilisation of foreign funds by an organisation through a summary enquiry.

2) J&K Official Languages Bill, 2020.

  • The Bill, seeks to include Kashmiri, Dogri and Hindi as the official languages in the newly created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Earlier, only English and Urdu were the official languages in the former State.
  • The Bill has been passed by both Houses.

3) The Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Bill, 2020.

  • The Bill seeks to provide a legal framework for bilateral netting of qualified financial contracts which are over the counter derivatives contracts.
  • Bilateral netting refers to offsetting claims arising from dealings between two parties to determine the net amount payable or receivable from one party to the other.
  • Qualified financial contracts (QFC): QFC means any bilateral contract notified as a QFC by the relevant authority.
  • The authority can be Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) or International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA).
  • The Central government may, by notification, exclude contracts between certain parties or containing certain terms from being designated as QFCs.
  • These authorities may designate entities, such as non-banking financial companies or insurance or pension firms functioning under its jurisdiction, as qualified financial market participants to deal in QFCs.
  • The bill allows for the enforcement of netting for qualified financial contracts.

4) The Occupational Safety Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020

  • The Occupational Safety Code subsumes and replaces 13 labour laws relating to safety, health and working conditions.
    • These laws include: Factories Act, 1948; Mines Act, 1952; Dock Workers Act, 1986; Contract Labour Act, 1970; and Inter-State Migrant Workers Act, 1979, which has been highlighted during the recent migrant workers crisis due to COVID-19.
  • These laws cover factories, mines, dock workers, building and construction workers, plantation labour, contract labour, inter-state migrant workers, working journalists, motor transport workers, sales promotion employees, and cine workers.
  • The code defines a migrant worker as someone who has come from his/her own state to seek employment in another state, and who earns up to Rs 18,000 per month.

5) The Industrial Relations Code, 2020

  • The Code provides for the recognition of trade unions; notice periods for strikes and lock-outs, standing orders, and resolution of industrial disputes.
  • It would subsume and replaces three labour laws: The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947; the Trade Unions Act, 1926; and the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946.
  • The major provisions of the Industrial Relations Code Bill include the mandatory provision for companies with 300 or more workers to prepare and submit to the government standing orders regarding the conditions of service, including shift timings and termination of employment.
  • As of now, this applies to establishments with over 100 employees, under the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946.

6) The Code on Social Security, 2020

  • The Bill replaces nine laws related to social security.
    • These include the Employees’ Provident Fund Act, 1952, the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, and the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008.
  • One of the major proposals of the Social Security Code Bill is to bring unorganised sector, gig workers and platform workers under the ambit of social security schemes, including life and disability insurance, health and maternity benefits, provident fund and skill upgradation.

7) The Appropriation (No.3) Bill, 2020

Provides for authorization of appropriation of money out of the Consolidated Fund of India to meet the amounts spent on certain services during the financial year ended on March 31, 2017, in excess of the amounts granted for those services and for that year.

8) The Appropriation (No.4) Bill, 2020

The Appropriation (No 4) Bill, 2020 authorizes payment and appropriation of certain further sums out of the Consolidated Fund of India for services of the financial year 2020-2021,


  • An Appropriation Bill is a money bill that allows the government to withdraw funds from the Consolidated Fund of India to meet its expenses during the course of a financial year.
  • As per Article 114 of the Constitution, the government can withdraw money from it only after receiving approval from Parliament.

The Finance Bill contains provisions on financing the expenditure of the government, an Appropriation Bill specifies the quantum and purpose for withdrawing money.

40% toilets in govt. schools non-existent, unused: CAG


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news?

Public sector units claimed to have constructed 1.4 lakh toilets in government schools as part of a Right to Education project, but almost 40% of those surveyed by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) were found to be non-existent, partially constructed, or unused.

Findings of the audit report

  • There are 10.8 lakh government schools in the country.
  • Overall, more than 1.4 lakh toilets were built by 53 CPSEs, with significant support coming from power, coal and oil companies.
  • The survey found that 72% of constructed toilets had no running water facilities inside, while 55% had no hand washing facilities at all.
  • Over 70% did not have running water facilities in the toilets, while 75% were not being maintained hygienically.
  • Cases of non-provision of soap, bucket, cleaning agents and disinfectants in toilets and inadequate cleanliness of pathway were also noticed.

Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan

  • The Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan was launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in September 2014 to meet the Right to Education Act’s mandate that all schools must have separate toilets for boys and girls.
  • Lack of dedicated funds, poor maintenance and poor water availability in toilets were identified as major challenges, and central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) were roped in to bridge the gap over a one-year period.
  • In order to effectively change the behaviour of students, the project norms required the CPSEs to build toilets with running water and hand washing facilities, and to maintain the toilets for three to five years while charging the annual expenses to their CSR budgets.

China vows to go carbon neutral by 2060


Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in news?

China seized the climate agenda by vowing to go carbon neutral by 2060. The goals, which include a pledge to reach peak emissions in 2030, are the most concrete ones yet announced by China.

Key details

  • The goals, which include a pledge to reach peak emissions in 2030, are the most concrete ones yet announced by China, which is the world’s biggest polluter and accounts for a quarter of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Speaking to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, Chinese President Xi Jinping renewed his support for the Paris climate accord and called for a ‘green focus’ as the world recovers from the COVID-19 crisis.
  • the United States, the world’s second-largest polluter, pulled out of the agreement, blaming China for the stalled momentum on tackling global emissions.

  • In addition to its embrace of global emissions-busting deals, China already feeds nearly 15% of its energy demands with non-fossil fuels and the installation of renewable energy stands at 30% of the world total.

What is carbon neutrality

  • Carbon neutrality means having a balance between emitting carbon and absorbing carbon from the atmosphere in carbon sinks.
  • Removing carbon oxide from the atmosphere and then storing it is known as carbon sequestration. In order to achieve net zero emissions, all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions will have to be counterbalanced by carbon sequestration.
  • Another way to reduce emissions and to pursue carbon neutrality is to offset emissions made in one sector by reducing them somewhere else.
  • This can be done through investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency or other clean, low-carbon technologies.
  • The EU’s emissions trading system (ETS) is an example of a carbon offsetting system.

Intended Nationally determined contributions

  • Countries across the globe committed to create a new international climate agreement by the conclusion of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in December 2015.
  • In preparation, countries have agreed to publicly outline what post-2020 climate actions they intend to take under a new international agreement, known as their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

G4 seeks time-bound reform of Security Council


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news?

  • Foreign Ministers from the Group of 4; India, Brazil, Japan and Germany a group that is seeking permanent membership of the UN Security Council (UNSC), met virtually to further their objective.

Key Details:

  • The Ministers reaffirmed their common resolve to “finally take decisive steps towards the early and comprehensive reform of the Security Council that was envisaged by Heads of State and Government in the 2005 World Summit,”.
  • The G4 will work with “other reform-minded countries and groups” to start text-based negotiations (TBN) without delay and seek “concrete outcomes”

India has long sought a permanent seat:

  • India has long sought a permanent seat at the Council and is a proponent of other UNSC reforms — such as increasing the number of permanent (currently five) and non-permanent (currently 10) seats and ensuring greater representation for Africa.
  • India has been at the forefront of demanding reform in the UN, particularly its principal organ, the Security Council.
  • For decades, India has been staking its claim as one of the world’s largest economies and most populous countries, with a track record in promoting a rules-based international order, and contributing to peacekeeping through UN forces.
  • Despite the dysfunctional power balance that prevails, the UN’s reform process, held through Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) has not made progress over decades.
  • The UN has chosen to roll over the discussions of the IGN, which are looking at five major issues:
    • Enlarging the Security Council.
    • Categories of membership.
    • The question of the veto that five Permanent Members of the UNSC wield.
    • Regional representation.
    • Redistributing the Security Council-General Assembly power balance.

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